Hi friends! Matt and I spent the weekend in upstate New York (Kingston/Annandale-on-Hudson area) to celebrate the wedding of our friends Stephanie and Alex. Besides the wedding (more on that in a minute), one of the big highlights was a cool hike/rock scramble that Matt and I did on Saturday afternoon pre-wedding!
I heard from one of my AnneTheRD clients that Mohonk Mountain House, which was only about 30 minutes from where we stayed, was not to be missed. Matt and I grabbed dinner with one of his best friends, Ted, in NYC (at a place called Westville Hudson, which was awesome, btw – loved their farm veggies!) on Friday night during a quick pit stop on our drive north, and he seconded the recommendation and also said there was a specific hike on their property – The Labyrinth – that we HAD to do. He said it was more of a rock scramble than a hike and that we would absolutely love it. Well, okay then! It featured areas nicknamed things like “The Lemon Squeeze” and “The Crevice” – not for the claustrophobic or those scared of heights!
We headed over to Mohonk Mountain House on Saturday morning. There’s a steep entrance fee just to get in the property where all the hikes are ($26 per person, gulp), but we had been told it was worth it. How cool is this place?! We really want to come back and stay here sometime!
The house seriously looks like an old castle, and there’s an awesome lake area with a dock where you can get paddleboats, paddleboards, kayaks, etc. There was a swimming area too. So cool! Also on the property: stables, tennis courts, and miles and miles of hiking trails.
As unwashed day visitors, we weren’t allowed in the hotel or even up on the porch (lame), so we headed straight to our main destination: the Labyrinth hike! FYI: you park down by the entrance/guard house and then you can either hike up to the resort/Mountain House where the main trail starts (it’s about 1.5 or 2 miles each way if you do that), or, if you are tight on time like we were, just take the shuttle up to the main house. The shuttle may only run in summer, though – I’m not entirely sure. Just FYI!
Let’s do this!
Right from the start, this was a seriously cool hike! It reminded us a lot of the rock scramble portion of Old Rag Mountain in the Shenandoahs (where we got engaged!). It was so fun to make our way through it!
Red arrows on the rocks marked our way and were easy to find/follow.
Up and up we went! I wish it had been clear out – apparently the views up here are normally spectacular!
After about 45 minutes of scrambling and climbing over, under, and through rocks, we came to the final stretch: a series of steep ladders up through a small crevice. So cool! This photo is taken with the camera pointing up. Steep!
Where’s Waldo? 😉
We made it! The final squeeze:
We have to come back when it’s a clear day. Apparently you can see something like 6 states from up here!
At the end of the hike, you’ll find the Skytop Tower! Normally you can climb up this for an even cooler view on a clear day, but it was under construction this weekend. Oh well – it was too cloudy to see anything anyway!
After our fun scrambling/hike, Matt and I settled in for a late lunch in one of the cute little huts that are all around the area.
We stopped by an adorable, tiny local/organic grocery store called High Falls Food Co-Op on the drive to Mohonk and picked up sandwiches for the hike. I had a Mock Tuna Sandwich made from tempeh. Quite tasty! Plus some clementines we brought from home.
Also, some jerky. Vegan tempeh sandwich followed by beef jerky? Normal, right? #balance
The Labyrinth hike is a one-way hike, meaning you can go up it but not down it (it’s too narrow!), so from the tower at the top you simply take a regular trail back down to the bottom. It will take you 15 minutes or less. You can hike up this way, too, if you want! We got caught in some rain on the way down – glad it held off during our scramble. Those rocks would have gotten quite slippery!
I highly recommend this rock scramble/hike if you are ever in the area. Such a blast and totally worth the steep entrance fee.
After hiking back down to the main resort, we hopped back on the shuttle down to the parking lot and made it back to our hotel in Kingston with plenty of time to get wedding ready!
Per all of your advice, I went with my formal dress since the wedding didn’t start until 6:30 and was black-tie optional. It was fun to feel to fancy! 🙂 Here’s a link to the dress.
As for the wedding, it was lovely! The bride, Steph, and I went to camp together when we were 12 and have been good friends ever since! I was so happy that we were able to join in their special day. <3 There was a little drizzle going on during the ceremony but thankfully the real rain held off until we were inside. How beautiful is her crown of flowers?!
Their ceremony was held at a super cool spot called the Parliament of Reality on the Bard College campus.
As for the reception, it was held in Spiegeltent, which is one of a handful of remaining large traveling tents that were originally built in Belgium during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Constructed in wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass, the tents are used as entertainment and dancing venues, and travel around the world. One happened to be scheduled to be on the Bard college campus this month and Steph was able to book it for their reception. I wish I’d gotten a photo of it – it was super cool and so unique!
Another big congratulations to Steph and Alex – can’t wait to have you guys both here in DC in late August, too! 🙂
Mazel tov! <3